Words are hard.
For the New York Post, there seem to be a few words that they’re just not quite getting—something isn’t connecting, you know? We see this confusion in a recent article titled: “UFC is inspiring the hottest new hair trend.”
These so-called “boxer braids” look eerily similar to a style that we in the exhausted black community call, “cornrows,” “plaits,” “banana braids,” or simply, “our hair.” Following a photo of Sasha Obama, Alev Aktar writes:
The first daughter joins a raft of high-profile beauties sporting a version of the now-ubiquitous boxer braids. Fueled by celebrities and the popularity of UFC fighters, the center-parted reverse French-braid style has surged back into fashion. The woven look, dating back to ancient Africa, has been worn by celebs including the Kardashian clan.
Let’s reflect on the cognitive dissonance that must occur in order to refer to something as both “ancient” and a “hot new trend.”
There’s also the little detail that while this style of braiding does date back thousands of years ago, it has literally never stopped being a popular and practical way for black people to wear their hair.
Sash’s sister Malia Obama, 2008
Tyra Banks, 2000
Bow Wow, 2006
Jada Pinkett Smith, 2006
Alicia Keys, 2002
Millions and millions and millions of black people since the beginning of time.
Perhaps the saddest part of this is that the New York Post isn’t even the first to try this bullshit reframing. The Los Angeles Times gave white people credit for cornrows back in September 2014.
The Post article goes on to explain that (white) people are now paying $50 to have their hair braided in “Kim braids,” (because there is no limit to what that woman can appropriate from us) and that the style lasts “three to four days.”
So, if nothing else, we can take some schadenfreude in the fact that white people are paying $50 for a style that lasts us at least twice as long.
And for those who will surely miss the point of all this and wonder with that special kind of obtuse earnestness: Isn’t this a compliment? Why can’t we just all share things with each other?
Consider this: Perhaps black people would care less about white people taking hairstyles from us, if they weren’t also busy taking our lives and basic sense of humanity on a regular basis.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Images via Getty/Khloe Kardashian’s Instagram.